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Westminster shooting: Witnesses describe terrifying scenes

Police outside the Palace of Westminster, London
Police outside the Palace of Westminster, London

Witnesses have described the terrifying scenes in London today following what police are treating as a terrorism incident.

A policeman was stabbed during the incident and his attacker shot by officers at the Houses of Parliament.

One woman has also died, and others have “catastrophic injuries” according to a junior doctor at St Thomas’ Hospital.

The knifeman drove along the pavement of Westminster Bridge, seriously injuring several pedestrians, before crashing into the gates of the Parliament.

Foreign Office Minister Tobias Ellwood was pictured with a bloodied face after giving first aid to one of the casualties of the Westminster terror attack.

The former army officer gave mouth-to-mouth resuscitation to a person injured within the grounds of Parliament.

He was pictured amid the carnage in New Palace Yard. Tory colleague Maria Miller said he “has given mouth-to-mouth resuscitation to one victim”.

It is not the first time Mr Ellwood’s life has been touched by an atrocity. His brother Jonathan was killed in the 2002 Bali bombing.

Eyewitness Hugh Dickinson, a 21-year-old student from High Wycombe, posted a picture of the minister on Twitter, showing the minister bleeding, but saying “he looked to be fine”.

Mr Dickinson said: “He had blood on his forehead as you can see but he wasn’t bleeding profusely.

“It looked like either a smear or graze and you can see some on his cuff too if you zoom in. He looked to be fine – no obvious limp or anything.”

The Bournemouth East MP is Foreign Office Minister, with the Middle East, Africa and counter terrorism listed among the areas within his brief.

Matt Haikin, from the capital, 44, said he was in shock after seeing the aftermath of the crash on the bridge.

He said: “I just saw a car that had clearly driven off the road into the fence outside Parliament.

“As I went past I noticed there was a body next to it and quite a lot of blood and people standing around.

“Fairly shortly after I heard some shots, at which point it was clear it wasn’t just an accident, something else was going on.”

He then moved to look through the Palace of Westminster gates and saw “a lot of people, people in uniform, I think I saw a couple of bodies on the ground, I couldn’t tell you if they’d been asked to lie down or if they were injured”.

Witness Richard Tice said he “counted between eight and 10 prostrate figures on the ground” after he came out of Westminster underground station and moved on to Westminster Bridge.

He told Sky News: “My understanding from someone who was standing next to me was that a car had driven along the whole pavement knocking people over and that is why there were many injuries. The people lying on the ground were starting to be attended to by a paramedic.”

Tourist Kathy Casatelli, 58, saw a car rammed into the front gates of the palace and a man being treated on the floor.

She said: “We were coming up from the Tube and we walked out and there were officers there with their guns drawn.

“I saw this car that was smashed into the gate. It was grey … it looked like a nice car. The whole windshield was smashed.

“There was a man on the ground, it looked like he was moving. I don’t know if he was the driver.”

Ms Casatelli, from Syracuse in the US and on holiday in London since Saturday, said she heard that someone had been wielding a knife.

She said: “One of the officers was trying to help him.

“He wasn’t moving very much, I thought I saw him moving.

“I don’t know if he was riding a bike and got hit. There was somebody with him and he was there with his hands on his head.

“I don’t know if they were walking or biking and it hit them.”

Steve Voake, 55, was walking across the Westminster Bridge towards the South Bank when he saw the aftermath.

He said he saw at least two bodies lying on the road and one in the water.
“I saw a trainer lying in the road and when I looked more closely I saw that there were a couple of bodies the other side of the road,” he told the Press Association.

“And when I looked over the side there was another body lying in the water with blood all around it.”

Witness Quentin Letts said he saw a man in black attack a police officer outside Parliament before being shot two or three times as he tried to storm into the House of Commons.

“I saw a thick-set man in black clothes come through the gates into New Palace Yard, just below Big Ben,” he told the BBC.

“He had something in his hand, it looked like a stick of some sort, and he was challenged by a couple of policemen in yellow jackets.

“And one of the yellow-jacketed policemen fell down and we could see the man in black moving his arm in a way that suggested he was stabbing or striking the yellow-jacketed policeman.”

The other officer ran to get help and the man in black ran about 15 yards towards the entrance, he said.

He added: “As this attacker was running towards the entrance two plain-clothed guys with guns shouted at him what sounded like a warning, he ignored it and they shot two or three times and he fell.”